Blog of Rights

Chertoff on Google Glass

Chertoff on Google Glass

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 5:56pm

We’ve been doing a fair amount of thinking about the implications of consumer wearable cameras like Google Glass, and I’m sure we’ll have more to say in this space on the subject. But meanwhile, we’re pleasantly surprised to report a very trenchant analysis of the technology’s implications for our privacy by none other than Michael Chertoff. Writing on CNN’s web page, the former DHS chief writes,

So, who owns and what happens to the user's [video] data? Can the entire database be mined and analyzed for commercial purposes? What rules will apply when law enforcement seeks access to the data for a criminal or national security investigation? For how long will the data be retained? ….

Even those who might be willing to forgo some degree of privacy to enhance national security should be concerned about a corporate America that will have an unrestricted continuous video record of millions.

What is to prevent a corporation from targeting a particular individual, using face recognition technology to assemble all uploaded videos in which he appears, and effectively constructing a surveillance record that can be used to analyze his life?

Chertoff says he’s inclined to think that government regulation may be needed. I haven’t seen Chertoff say anything about the threat of pervasive government surveillance, which would make him a kind of anti-libertarian on privacy—in favor of restricting corporations, but not the government. For the average, relatively powerless person trying to live their life, the threat comes from both directions.

NEW LAWSUIT: Police Should Stop Arresting Innocent People Just for Being on a Business’s Property

NEW LAWSUIT: Police Should Stop Arresting Innocent People Just for Being on a Business’s Property

By Jason Williamson & Miriam Aukerman, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Michigan at 1:46pm

The next time you're in Grand Rapids, Michigan and need to pull into a gas station to make a phone...

The Fight to Take Back Our Genes

Myriad Genetics’ Latest Attempt to Maintain Its Monopoly on Our Genes Rejected

By Sandra Park, ACLU at 11:02am

Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling invalidating patents on human genes.  The case was brought by the ACLU, along with the Public Patent Foundation, on behalf of 20medical organizations, geneticists, health advocacy groups,…

Aerial view of the U.S. Patent Office building; Image source: Cliff/Flickr

Is the "Patent Happy" Patent Office Violating the First Amendment?

By Sandra S. Park, Staff Attorney, ACLU Women's Rights Project at 2:43pm

Last April, during the Supreme Court oral arguments in our case challenging patents on human genes, Justice Kagan remarked, "The PTO seems very patent happy." Her comment, and the unanimous decision invalidating gene patents, clearly expressed the…

Persistent Aerial Surveillance: Do We Want To Go There, America?

Persistent Aerial Surveillance: Do We Want To Go There, America?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:32am

The Washington Post ran a story Thursday on a technology that I've been very concerned about for a while: persistent aerial surveillance. Specifically, it profiled a company, Persistent Surveillance Solutions, that has been deploying this panoptic…

Axe Wasteful and Abusive FBI Programs

Axe Wasteful and Abusive FBI Programs

By Mike German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:04pm

According to the Washington Post, new FBI Director James Comey is struggling with an FBI budget shortfall as a result of the sequester (even though the FBI budget more than doubled since 2001). Since we just finished Unleashed and Unaccountable, a…

Banned Books Week 2013: Books about LGBT Families Remain Targets of Censorship

Banned Books Week 2013: Books about LGBT Families Remain Targets of Censorship

By Joshua Block, LGBT Project at 1:54pm

2013 has been a landmark year for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families. In June the Supreme Court struck down...

Destroying the Right to Be Left Alone

Destroying the Right to Be Left Alone

By Chris Calabrese, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Matthew Harwood, Media Strategist, ACLU at 10:37am

The NSA Isn't the Only Government Agency Exploiting Technology to Make Privacy Obsolete

Invasion of the Data Snatchers: Big Data and the Internet of Things Means the Surveillance of Everything

Invasion of the Data Snatchers: Big Data and the Internet of Things Means the Surveillance of Everything

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project & Matthew Harwood, Media Strategist, ACLU at 11:18am

This piece originally ran at TomDispatch.com.

Estimates vary, but by 2020 there could be over 30 billion devices connected to the Internet. Once dumb, they will have smartened up thanks to sensors and other technologies embedded in…

Media Protection Rule Helpful, But Not a Panacea

Media Protection Rule Helpful, But Not a Panacea

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:50pm

The new rule released yesterday governing when the Department of Justice can investigate journalists seems like a dollop of progress with a sizeable helping of potential concern. The attorney general does, however, deserve credit for some progress…